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ABC gets rare media access to Apple supply chain

updated 05:15 am EST, Sat February 18, 2012

ABC's Nightline gets special access to Apple ops

The ABC TV network has announced that it will be screening a special edition of Nightline next week focusing on working conditions in Apple's supply chain. The network received special permission from Apple, giving it rare media access to the inner workings of where Apple's products are made. Network anchor Bill Weir took a film crew with him into factories on Shenzhen China, claiming that he is the first journalist to ever get a look inside.

'For years, Apple and Foxconn have been synonymous with monster profits and total secrecy so it was fascinating to wander the iPhone and iPod production lines, meet the people who build them and see how they live," Weir says in the preview.

'Our cameras were rolling when thousands of hopeful applicants rushed the Foxconn gates,' Weir added. 'I spoke with dozens of line workers and a top executive about everything from hours and pay to the controversies over suicides at the plant and the infamous 'jumper nets' that line the factories in Shenzhen. After this trip, I'll never see an Apple product the same way again.'

A side effect of Apple's status as the poster boy for the technology industry is that the media glare has been firmly placed on the company and its Chinese manufacturing operations. This is despite Foxconn manufacturing for other high profile clients including Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, Cisco, Nintendo, Dell, HP, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Toshiba and Vizio -- yet none of these company's have faced anywhere near the same level scrutiny as Apple.

Apple has also taken more steps than any other company to address the working conditions of all the employees in its supply chains. It has invited the Fair Labor Association to audit its Chinese operations and has also moved to have laborers receive pay rises. However, it is likely that the Cupertino giant will be bracing itself for additional negative press that may emerge from the Fair Labor Association report and the upcoming ABC Nightline investigation. As part of its aim to ensure greater transparency of its supply chain operations, Apple has also created a special webpage devoted to what it calls 'Supplier Responsibility at Apple,' an industry first.

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. PJL500

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not convincing...

    when Apple puts huge stress on their employees in California... [a friend who works there (for v. good money) says.]

  1. guzzi

    Joined: Dec 1969


    WIsh the factory was in Jersey!

    Wouldn't it be nice if this stuff was made in the USA. But the gang in DC and the UNIONS in this country killed all that ever happening again. China 2012 is USA 1910, USA 2012 is U.K. 1910...Get used to it. Thanks UNIONS, THANKS DC....Get in line for those iPad 3's......

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I hope this is not a PR mistake by Apple...

    According to a friend of mine who was near the Nightline set years ago when Koppel was working it--is rigged to favor whatever view the show wanted to create, especially when it had hi-powered people on it. My friend was totally disgusted when he saw and heard what was going on at ABC.

  1. garmonbosia

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Funny how

    guzzi and the rest of this Fox News generation has been indoctrinated into blaming the union workers, of all
    people, for the loss of jobs in the US. Electronic manufacturing jobs have NEVER been widely unionized in this country. In fact these jobs have never even paid particularly well before they were shipped off over seas. If you want to blame someone, blame the oligarchy in this country that bought off the political system (some Dems, all Repubs) and have been shaping our trade and tax laws to make it more profitable for manufacturers to exploit the disparity in wages between the developed and undeveloped world.

    We have a middle class in this country only because of our laws that used to allow for collective bargaining and basic worker's protection. We've spent the last thirty years allowing the Republicans and their corporate masters to dismantle these laws and shrink the middle class. Our trade laws no longer protect our workers from having to compete with slave labor throughout the world. And you blame the workers in America? The hardest working and most productive workers in the world? No wonder this country is heading down the tubes.

  1. guzzi

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sure Blame Fox news?????

    Yes it's Fox news....I'm a Zombie..... I guess Steve Jobs watched FOX news too.... Did you read his book? He told the president face to face.......He'd open factories in this country but the Teacher's union is killing education in the country....not turning out enough engineers. Can't fire bad teachers......I guess the Republicans and Fox news did that.....PLease before you trash someone else check out the facts. I'd rather see factories in Camden and Newark giving people jobs then in a country that hates us! Opps there goes that Fox news again........

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sweeps season is when

    doctors talk about breast/penile implants
    homos come out of the closet
    ladies of the night walk the streets
    car chases in LA
    and now...
    ABC gets up close and personal with Apple workers.

  1. garmonbosia

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I didn't read Steve Job's book

    because Steve never wrote one. I did, however read Isaacson's book and Steve never did blame teachers for the lack of engineers in this country. And you really are clueless if you think it's teachers that are standing in the way of a better education system. Our problem isn't because we can't fire bad teachers, it's because we can't pay enough to attract good ones. Most teachers would be happy to have a system that would better weed out the truly bad ones if they didn't have to spend all their time defending themselves from a political party that wants to turn them all into serfs like they are doing to manufacture workers. Is that why manufacturing jobs are being destroyed in this country? Is it because unions don't allow corporations to fire bad workers?

    So yes. When I hear someone spouting off the Fox news line about workers in this country being the reason for manufacturing jobs being sent over seas I have to assume a certain degree of cluelessness.

  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dumb america

    Most american who want everything at the cheapest price don't realize they wouldn't be able afford most of the goods they consume if it was produce in the USA, so we keep sucking poorer economy to produce c*** for richer economy.

  1. ASathin8R

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A quote from the Dalai Lama

    Many creatures have toiled singly or jointly to make our lives comfortable. The food we eat and the clothes we wear have not just dropped from the sky. Many creatures have labored to produce them. That is why we should be grateful to all our fellow creatures.

  1. localnet

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What is Apple thinking?

    Giving ABC News anything is just asking for trouble. This will turn into another hit piece against Apple, just like the NY Times of a few weeks ago.

    Here is a fact, just one Foxconn plant employs over 250,000 people, they also house and feed these people. There is a waiting list a mile long for these jobs. If Foxconn needs three thousand workers tomorrow, they just pick up the phone and it happens. Try doing any of this here in the USA, it ain't going to happen.

    Here is an example right in our own back yard. I am up here in North Dakota, the average starting wage is $90,000 a year to work in the oil patch for unskilled labor. Do you think we can get people to work? And then trying to establish housing for these workers, it is darn near impossible due to zoning and other regulations, not from a lack of useable properties. If we can't find unskilled labor for $90,000 a year and house them up here, what are the odds of Apple building an iPad here in the states that requires facilities for 250,000 + employees? Ain't going to happen.

    Heck, the EPA and NLRB would shut them down in a New York minute. You will never see these products manufactured here, the workers are not available nor would our government allow it. If it were to happen, an iPad would cost around $5000 a copy, if not more.

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